Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 29

In a letter entitled “al Qaida and Chechnya,” published in the October 2 issue of the Washington Post, and which took sharp issue with a news story appearing in the September 19 issue of the paper, Lyoma Usmanov, U.S. representative of the government of President Aslan Maskhadov, underlined: “The Chechen [separatist] government has no ties with Osama bin Laden and does not sympathize with him. We know of no Chechens in the United States who are members of al Qaida or who would commit terrorist acts by hijacking airplanes. Such attacks are against Chechen beliefs and law.” Usmanov noted that President Maskhadov had expressed “great sadness” over the events of September 11, 2001 and that he “supports the U.S. war on terrorism.” “The Chechen government,” he related, “has informed FBI Director Robert S. Mueller of its willingness to help in antiterrorist investigations.”